This is my HOLY SHIT I’m GETTING READY, stunned, deer-in-a-headlight look.
Travel to Italy this year is booming because the dollar is finally almost as strong as the euro. It’s affordable now so naturally loads of people from the US are hopping over to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world: Italy. Now, the summer is tricky because it’s beautiful, a perfect time for beaches and the architecture looks that much more beautiful kissed in the warm sunlight but it’s crowded, hot, and expensive even with the stronger dollar. As most of you know already, Francesco took a new job in the US so now we’re living in between Italy and (gasp) Arizona (but soon to be Utah). Let’s get it out in the open that I hate long flights, i hate them. I’m inpatient and my anxiety makes my life miserable because I’m like, “Oh my God I bet my blood is clotting and I’m going to be an amputee,” or “If we crash in the ocean the sharks will eat me….or at least chew off my legs.” Sigh. I’ve learned from taking 10,000 international flights that one of the best ways to handle the long flight is to prepare for it, all of it, from the discomfort to the stinky, dirty, feeling horrible factor. I know that I’m about to sound like a crazy person but trust me, these tips will help you feel human after being strapped into a chair and forced to breathe in the carbon dioxide of strangers for 8-15 hours depending on where you’re coming from.
YOUR LONG ASS FLIGHT CARRY-ON
- Always pack undies, an extra outfit, contact solution, etc., in case your luggage is temporarily lost. And? This happens all the damn time so really prepare for it.
- Lavender water face mist. Yeah, for men and women, and here’s why: It makes you calm, relieves anxiety, helps you sleep and stops your face from drying out and looking like a zombie for the next week. Flying dries out your body so hydrate your face off.
- Deodorant body wipes: Target has these in their travel section and you can use them on your entire body so you don’t land smelling like a bog monster plus they leave a fine coat of powder so you feel soft and dreamy.
- Airborne packets, the normal ones and the ones with Melatonin: You’re trapped with weird humans in a germ capsule, getting sick on your trip is the worst way to spend your vacation. I take one packet with melatonin when I get on to make me tired and help me sleep, and then I take a normal one WITHOUT melatonin before landing. You’re thinking, “But M.E., this is a ton of shit,” but trust me, prevention can make your trip awesome or terrible and it’s not worth wasting money on a vacation when you’re dying in the hotel room from the bird flu or some other crazy shit you contracted on the plane from some baby sitting next to you snotting into your wine goblet.
- Yes To Cucumbers, Cucumber face cleansing wipes: Also available at Target. You’ll feel a billion times better if you can wash your face when you wake up from your in flight slumber.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Obvious, dudes, nobody has time for your dragon breathe AND you’ll feel much better and less icky.
- Melatonin pills: I bring these just in case because sleeping on the plane will do wonders for you. Don’t take more than directed and read instructions carefully.
- Protein bars: I am always starving on the plane because plane food is mostly simple sugars and shit. A lot of shit.
- Giant ass bottle of water I buy in the airport after security. The flight attendance never give out enough water and flying sucks the water out of you.
- Ear plugs, that mask thing that blocks out the light, AND FUZZY SPA SOCKS! I wear flip flops in the airport so in the plane I put them in my carry-on, and put on fuzzy spa socks. They moisturize and make love to your feet while you’re crammed in uncomfortable positions. Not to mention, this way you’re not kicking off your stinky ass shoes and ruining the flight for everyone. Trust me, wear flips flops, and use the spa socks. Guys and ladies, you’ll do it once and never, ever not do it. PLUS, in Italy you’ll want to wear house shoes because the flooring is usually cold in your apartment, etc and your flip flops will come in handy.
WHAT TO WEAR IN ITALY IN SUMMER
I’m going to a wedding in Cassino next week which means days with my in-laws (&%/£$%£) and then 12 hours of eating the day after I step off of an international flight. I found my dress for the wedding at Nordstrom. This season, in Italy, floral prints, lace, and red are really in for wedding guest attire. How do I know that? Because Francesco researched it first and sent me a buttload of articles like this one on How To Dress For A Wedding Ceremony As A Guest. Here is my dress, with nude sandals and a nude clutch.
As per usual, interesting cuts, loose-fitting blouses, and neutrals are also in for Italy every summer. Skinny jeans in red, teal, aqua, or a variety of bright colors are also in right now for both men and women. Men, pair with a t-shirt, ladies, a loose fitting blouse or loose fitting t-shirt. The style in Italy is often balanced, if you wear tight pants you don’t typically wear a skin-tight shirt too. But again, every region of Italy has a different style. Florence is more fashion meets bohemian. An excellent place to shop in the US for european-styled clothing is Zara. Honestly, in Florence, a lot of the locals shop there and mix Zara pieces with more expensive Italian-made items. Bring big sunglasses, comfortable shoes (like Toms or some other versatile shoe and sandals but avoid Flip Flops in public because those are only worn in homes or at beaches), a few nice outfits for dinner (remember, Italians don’t do dinner in yoga pants, they dress up in nice clothes), and sunscreen. I use Beach Bum because it’s all natural and not toxic (I swear to jesus this is not a Target post but you can buy it there as well). Beware of high heels, ladies! If you’re used to wearing them on cobblestones than go for it but if not I’d try to stick with a fatter heel if possible. It’s about 100 degrees right now, with like 40% humidity so keep that in mind when you’re packing.
THE BEST INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS FOR ITALIAN FASHION
- Filippo Fiora: For men’s fashion and high fashion. This is for the luxury level man who wants to look like a million bucks, wear a suit like a champion, and work the streets like a fashion God.
- Fashion Wire Press: These guys cover street style and high fashion. I love their street pics. Gives you an idea of how the well-dressed locals work it on the streets.
- Alley + Rae: For children’s clothing that is hip and fun. It’s not an Italian brand, BUT, their cool t-shirts and little outfits are totally something you’d see on kids in Italy.
- Chiara Ferragni: Street fashion, put together looks, fashion week, and all things clothing. She’s one of the biggest fashion bloggers in Italy and I love her instagram account. It’s women’s fashion only for the most part but it’s a good insight and it’s very northern Italy (Milan) which is crazy similar to a mix of NY and CA.
- M.E.: I will be documenting, stalking, and doing my usual street fashion stuff during my entire trip throughout Naples, Rome, Cassino, Florence, and who knows where else! Follow me for the RIGHT NOW look at what to wear starting this Friday.
WHAT TO DO IN ITALY FOR YOUR SUMMER VACATION
- As usual I’m going to try to persuade you to do an “off the beaten path,” trip because holy shit so fun. You’ll have a less crowded, more “authentic,” Italian experience. Rent a car, drive all over Italy, and stay in some fabulous agriturismo places along the way, like this one La Tavola Marche. I haven’t been yet but it’s on my list for this trip given I have the time (fingers crossed).
- Check out the islands. Sardegna, Elba Island, or Sicily are what dreams are made of and surprisingly you’ll find less tourists there than in places like Florence. You can drive around the country and then take a super cheap Ryanair flight over to the islands.
- Travel in groups (if you can) of friends and rent apartments instead of hotels. It can end up being a lot cheaper that way. We almost only use apartments when we travel because you can cook, chill, and split the cost with friends. Kind of perfect. Check out Flipkey for cute apartments!
- Go camping! Italy has tons of campgrounds and a lot of them are not like the camping we have in the US. This is Italian camping, where you can stay in a “cabin,” which is actually a stand-alone hotel room, and campgrounds usually have swimming pools, clubs, bars, and cafes. Yes, seriously.
What else would you guys recommend for an awesome July trip in Italy? Put your suggestions in the comments below and help me find new things to do on this trip I’m leaving for in THREE DAYS plus it’s always helpful for other readers. Can’t wait, ladies and gents. And? I just ordered a unicorn head mask from Amazon that arrives tomorrow. For Italy. It’s a long story.